13 Money Books Worth Reading
Through Richard Eisenberg, Next avenue
Whether 2022 is the year you decided to manage your money better or you have an adult child or grandchild you’d like to learn the basics of personal finance from, I have books for you!
In fact, these are 13 money book recommendations from my “Friends Talk Money” podcast co-hosts Pam Krueger, Terry Savage and I and are from our most recent episode (you can hear it everywhere you get podcasts). It’s an eclectic set of books – some newly published and some that are classics. But I promise all of them are helpful.
As Kruger said on the podcast, these are “books that could actually help you achieve that goal of making you financially stronger” and “can be life-changing in terms of how you approach your personal finances.” .
Incidentally, Krueger, Savage, and I are all personal finance authors and voracious readers of that ilk. So, we know a thing or two about which silver books are worth the price.
This brings me to two caveats about the personal finance books I shared on the “Friends Talk Money” podcast.
Number one: If the book contains advice on taxes or retirement planning, check the publication date. You don’t want to buy a book with outdated financial advice.
Number two: Read the author’s biography. Some personal finance books are little more than cleverly disguised sales of insurance and annuities from the authors who sell them.
Advice from Savage when selecting a book on money: ask yourself “what profound attitude adjustment can this give me about money and what new ways to think about money and to financial subjects does it exist to be worth reading?”
Moving on to the 13 books (some with the longest titles you’ve ever seen), starting with five, Krueger said she “actually tried to live” and “read and re-read.”
“The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns” by John Bogle. The author is the late founder of Vanguard Mutual Funds, the father of the low-cost index fund (usually a mutual fund that buys stocks from across the stock market), and the man known as the champion of small investors. First published in 2007, Bogle’s seminal book on investing in plain English was updated in 2017. Krueger says, “It slices through the noise of Wall Street, getting to the heart of how you and I, as investors, can do the little things to thrive.
“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. First published in 1996 and re-released in 2010, it’s about ways to spend sparingly to save more – as humble small business owners often do to help them become millionaires. Krueger said the authors “can change your life by changing your habits”. (I interviewed Stanley when I was a writer at Money magazine, just before the book came out, and was impressed with his research and advice.)
“Make Money: 10 Simple Steps to Become Financially Wholeby Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. This 2021 book could be a great introduction for your adult child or your grandson. Its author is also young; Aliche is a former preschool teacher turned financial educator. Krueger suggests it to his niece who has just turned 30. “It’s a good book to get kids thinking about budgeting and living debt-free,” she said.
“The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing” by Benjamin Graham. Talk about a classic; Graham, an economist, professor and investor, first published this book on value investing (finding stocks trading at a price below their intrinsic value) in 1949. It has been updated, although sure ; most recently by Jason Zweig, “Smart Investor” columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Krueger – who has read this book at least three times – said on the podcast that when she interviewed legendary investor Warren Buffett a decade ago, he said it was the only investing book that had changed his life.
“The Wild Truth About Money: Third Edition” by Terry Savage. Krueger insisted she would recommend this 2019 book even though syndicated personal finance columnist Savage wasn’t one of our co-hosts. “What I love most about this book is that it’s about [personal finance] strategies that actually work for real people, especially for people who are about to retire,” Krueger said.
Savage’s four choices:
“The Warren Buffett Book of Investing Wisdom: 350 quotes from the world’s most successful investor” by Robert L. Bloch. Savage called Buffett “the current modern iteration of Benjamin Graham.”
“The Price You Pay for College: A Whole New Roadmap to the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make” by Ron Lieber. The author is a New York Times
“Money Magic: An Economist’s Secrets to More Money, Less Risk, and a Better Life” by Laurence J. Kotlikoff. Fresh off the press, this 2022 book by an iconoclastic Boston University professor and Social Security expert is packed with clever and sometimes provocative personal finance advice. Next Avenue recently published a Kerry Hannon interview with him on the advice of his book. One of Savage’s favorite parts: Kotlikoff’s section on “why your daughter might be better off being a plumber than a doctor.”
“Success through a positive mental attitude” by W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill. Savage concedes that this 1960 self-help book, which she recommends for young adults, has one flaw: it only talks about Men succeed with a positive mental attitude. But if your child or grandchild can overcome that, she says, they’ll find the advice inspiring. Savage said she started reading it in her twenties when her father had the book on his desk. (A former journalist, Savage wrote Stone’s obituary just after his 100th birthday.)
And here are my four recommendations:
“This is the year I put my financial life in order” by John Schwartz. This 2018 book is useful and fun (how many personal finance books can you tell this on?). Schwartz — now a journalism professor at the University of Texas — recounts his previous year, in his 50s, finally figuring out how to manage his money; he interviewed financial smarties to show him where he had gone wrong and what to do instead. I interviewed him for Next Avenue when the book came out.
“How to Make Your Money Last: The Essential Money Guide” by Jane Bryant Quinn. One of the top personal finance writers (Newsweek, AARP) and commentators (CBS), Quinn published this 2020 book especially for people looking for smart, practical, and straightforward retirement planning advice. I also interviewed her about the book for Next Avenue.
“Great jobs for everyone 50+: Finding a job that makes you happy and healthy…and pays the bills” by Kerry Hannon. A perfect book for this era of the big quit, it’s about full-time and part-time job opportunities and the skills you’ll need to snag them. Hannon, as you may know, is a longtime Next Avenue writer; here, she really delivers the goods.
“Right Place, Right Time: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Life” by Ryan Frederick. Recently published and featured on Next Avenue, Frederick’s book can be extremely helpful if you’re thinking about where to live, downsizing, or aging in place.
Happy Reading, Happy Wealth, and Happy New Year!